1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: likewise a small act of folly unto him that is esteemed for wisdom and honour. 2 A wise man's heart is at his right hand, but a fool's heart at his left. 3 Even when the fool walks by the way, he lacks prudence, and he says unto every one that he is a fool. 4 If the spirit of the ruler rises up against thee, do not leave thy place; for meekness pacifies great sins.
5 There is another evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceeds from the ruler:
6 Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich are seated in a low place. 7 I saw slaves upon horses, and princes walking as slaves upon the earth.
8 He that digs a pit shall fall into it, and whosoever breaks a hedge, a serpent shall bite him. 9 Whosoever moves the stones shall have tribulation along with it, and he that cuts the firewood shall be endangered by it. 10 If the iron is blunt, and he does not whet the edge, then he must put forth more strength, but the advantages of wisdom excel. 11 If the serpent bites without being enchanted, then the babbler is no more. 12 The words from the mouth of the wise man are grace, but the lips of the fool will swallow up himself. 13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness, and the end of his talk is mischievous madness. 14 The fool multiplies words and says, Man cannot tell what shall be, and what shall be after him, who can tell him? 15 The labour of the foolish wearies all of them because they do not know how to go to the city. 16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes banquet in the morning! 17 Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season for strength, and not for drunkenness! 18 By much slothfulness the building decays, and through idleness of the hands the rain drips throughout the house. 19 The banquet is made for pleasure, and wine makes merry; but money answers all things. 20 Do not curse the king, not even in thy thought; and do not curse the rich even in the secret place of thy bedchamber; for the birds of the air shall carry the voice, and those who have wings shall tell the matter.